Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs

52 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2014 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017

See all articles by David P. Byrne

David P. Byrne

The University of Melbourne

Andrea La Nauze

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Leslie A. Martin

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 22, 2017

Abstract

We document how imperfect information generates heterogeneous effects in information treatments with personalized high-frequency feedback and peer comparisons. In our field experiment in retail electricity, we find that high and low energy users symmetrically underestimate and overestimate their relative energy use pretreatment. Responses to personalized feedback, however, are asymmetric. Households that overestimate their relative use and low users both respond by consuming more. These boomerang effects provide evidence that peer-comparison information programs, even those coupled with normative comparisons, are not guaranteed to lead to increases in prosocial behavior.

Keywords: imperfect information, high frequency feedback, peer comparison, learning, field experiment, retail electricity

JEL Classification: C93, D12, D84, L94, Q41

Suggested Citation

Byrne, David P. and La Nauze, Andrea and Martin, Leslie A., Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs (June 22, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430135 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2430135

David P. Byrne (Contact Author)

The University of Melbourne ( email )

Level 4
111 Barry Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/dprbyrne/

Andrea La Nauze

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh
United States

Leslie A. Martin

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://lesliemartin.org

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